My name is Will Duchon. I live in Stratford, CT.

In 2003 I encountered Mr. Shane Watson, who is currently serving a 25 year to life sentence for second-degree murder. After careful review of the case transcripts, police reports, trial transcripts and other documentation, it became clear that Shane is not guilty of this crime. His case is an example of flawed "eyewitness" testimony, an incredibly flimsy prosecution, and essentially a travesty of justice. Shane is 49 years old, and has been in prison since 1993.

Along with some dedicated friends from Pleasantville Presbyterian Church in Pleasantville, NY, Monroe Congregational Church in Monroe, CT, the fine attorney Robert Boyle of New York City, and our dedicated investigator Doug Walters of Chicago, I am seeking to have Shane's conviction overturned so that ultimately, he will be free to enjoy his life.

This blog is simply a way to share Shane's story as well as new and current information regarding his case. I encourage you to read the posts that describe the details of his case. It is also an opportunity to learn about how flawed the criminal justice system is.

For details of the Shane Watson case, please read the SUMMARY by our investigator, Doug Walters.

Thank you for visiting.

Shane Watson's mailing address:

Mr. Shane Watson


Fishkill Correctional Facility

PO Box 1245

Beacon, NY 12508

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Another Exoneration in Brooklyn

All news is not bad news. At least Brooklyn, NY has the extraordinary benefit of an intelligent District Attorney, Ken Thompson, whose "Conviction Review Unit" has made it possible for yet another wrongfully convicted person to be set free after eight years in prison. Mr. Joel Fowler was wrongfully convicted of murder in 2007, and, like Shane Watson, was sentenced to 25 years to life. This all unfolded under the watch of former Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes, who bungled the case. Mr. Fowler's prime "witness" recanted her testimony, and in another disturbing similarity to Shane's case, FOUR other witnesses to the 2007 shooting were never called to testify at trial. FOUR! Joel Fowler's erroneous conviction was tossed out on August 4, 2015. This is the 14th conviction that has been overturned by the Brooklyn DA"s office. If only the Bronx were so enlightened to have a similar Conviction Review Unit.

Shane remains upbeat and hopeful as we prepare to file our appeal in Federal court, since the NY State courts have failed him once again. I ask that you continue to hold Shane in your thoughts and prayers, as well as his wife Paula, their children and Shane's mother Joan.

As always, a note of encouragement is always welcome. If you would like to drop a line to Shane, his address is as follows:

Mr. Shane Watson
DIN 93A9384
c/o Fishkill Correctional Facility
PO Box 1245
Beacon, NY 12508

In a recent letter I told Shane that hopefully he and Paula can escape the summer heat sometime soon by jumping into a pool on their postponed honeymoon in someplace like the Bahamas. Shane replied "Amen to that! We deserve it, and I'll bring you back a t-shirt for sure!"(smile).

Joel Fowler, 24, at State Supreme Court in Brooklyn where his conviction on a murder charge was vacated by a judge following a request by the District Attorney's office.

Monday, May 11, 2015

"Thanks for the snacks!"

I heard from Paula Watson today who told me that Shane was "overwhelmed" by the many gifts of snacks he received from many people via the New York Inmate Package program. In fact, Shane has received so much that he asked people NOT to send any more!

Thank you for your gifts to Shane.

More importantly, we are slowly raising funds to cover the legal expenses for our Federal appeal hearing. At this writing we are still in need of $3000.

Thank you for your continued interest in Shane Watson's case.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Send Shane a Snack...Easily!

It is common knowledge that the prison industry in the US is BIG BUSINESS. Who makes money off of hyper-incarceration? Phone companies, the government (inmates build office furniture which is sold to public and private companies), but most of all, the huge privatized prison companies like Corrections Corporation of America, a mega monster corporation that exploits the inmate population explosion for good old hard cash. God bless America!

One company that you and I can cater to is Union Supply Direct.  This company makes it easy to send an inmate gifts of clothing, food, and other supplies without the hassle of shopping and going to the post office.

Today I received a letter from Shane which included an order form for some items he needs...snacks, mostly and a pair of sneakers. He filled the form out completely and asked that I purchase the items using some of our funds, if possible. Instead of mailing the form in with a check, I was able to go online and place the order immediately. What a world.

Here are some of the items Shane seems to crave:

Keebler Deluxe Chocolate Chip Cookies
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
Hawaiian Punch Sugar-Free Fruit Juice (red)
Snickers Bars: Fun Size
Obviously Shane is a health-food addict and stays away from sugar.
If YOU would care to send Shane something, you can shop online at Union Supply Direct. 
All you need is Shane's address and inmate #(93A9384). He is incarcerated at Fishkill Correctional.
Shane Watson
Fishkill Correctional Facility
Happy shopping!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Are You Listening DA Johnson?

Mr. Robert Johnson,  Meet Mr. Shane Watson

The name Shane Watson means nothing to Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson, but it should. On October 13, 1993, Mr. Watson was convicted of second-degree murder following a brief trial in the State Supreme Court on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx. The case surrounded the shooting death of Mr. Mark Johnson on a dark October night in 1991 on Schieffelin Avenue.  This conviction was delivered under the watch of DA Johnson, and in the courtroom of Gerald Scheindlin (husband of “Judge Judy”). “Justice” was served up just the way most DA’s like it to be: quick and easy. Shane Watson, now 49 years old, was sentenced to a term of 25 years to life. At this writing, he has been incarcerated in the New York State prison system for 21 years and 173 days. It all seems like a routine conviction of just another shooting death in the Bronx, except for one important detail: Shane Watson did not commit this crime. 

Since 2004 my organization, The Opus 30 Mission, has fought for Mr. Watson’s exoneration. I first became acquainted with Shane through the NYC radio station WBAI. The late Al Lewis hosted a Saturday morning program, speaking out against the profit-driven prison industry and advocating for sentencing reform.  Listeners were invited to send in postcards to the program should they wish to correspond with and offer moral support to inmates. I sent in a postcard. On December 17, 2003 I received a letter from Shane Watson. This was the start of a correspondence which has grown into a friendship and a sobering education in the flaws of our justice system. After studying Shane’s court transcripts it seemed clear to me that his conviction was a monumental miscarriage of justice. Shane’s case was primarily an eyewitness case, and the prosecution relied on coerced and flimsy accounts of a fleeting, hooded shooter running across Schieffelin Avenue at 11:30 PM on a dark October night. 

There were other serious problems with this conviction. The lead detective in the case, Sevilie Jones, led what was essentially a non-investigation of the case. After Shane’s arrest in 1991, two years passed before the trial began. During that time the police never searched Shane Watson’s apartment for a gun or clothing containing gunpowder residue. The victim, Mark Johnson, was on parole at the time of his death, having been convicted of murder in 1983. The police never questioned anyone connected to his victim. Detective Jones manipulated a photo array in order to coerce an identification of Shane Watson, basically concerned with closing the case quickly. Bronx DA Robert Johnson should take some interest in this. 

In 2014, Brooklyn was at the center of 11 exonerations, due to the foresight of DA Kenneth Thompson, and the work of the Brooklyn Conviction Review Unit.  The Bronx needs to wake up and follow Brooklyn’s lead. Given the malfeasance and sloppy work of Detective Sevilie Jones in Shane Watson’s case, one critical question becomes starkly and stunningly obvious: how many other bad convictions have taken place in the Bronx? How many more Shane Watsons are languishing anonymously in NY State prisons? 

According to the Vera Institute of Justice, it costs 50- $60,000 to incarcerate one inmate for one year in New York State. Shane Watson’s incarceration has cost NY taxpayers at least $1 million. Were it not for Mr. Watson’s wrongful conviction he would have been a taxpayer for the past 21 years. This one case from the Bronx represents an ethical, moral and financial nightmare.

Yes, DA Robert Johnson should know about Shane Watson.  The justice system has only as much integrity as its ability to correct its mistakes. In the words of our volunteer investigator, retired (Brooklyn) probation officer Doug Walters, “This is not a case of a witness misleading the authorities, but of the authorities willingly suborning a witness. The actions and inaction of the NYPD and the Bronx District Attorney in this case go far beyond negligence, and constitute actual malfeasance. The NYPD and Bronx District Attorney showed an obvious contempt for Shane Watson and his family by fabricating a case against him in order to lock him up for life. They showed a complete disregard for Mark Johnson and his family by treating his murder as merely an occasion for obtaining a false conviction with a base minimum of work. They showed a contempt for the professional standards which are supposed to govern everyone in the criminal justice system”.

Are you listening DA Johnson?

Will Duchon, Founder/Director
The Opus 30 Mission

April 4, 2015

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

THE NEXT STEP: Information from our attorney Robert Boyle

Dear Friends,

As you know, our recent application to the Appellate Court was denied, once again defying logic and common sense.

As of this writing, Shane has been in prison for 21 years and 169 days. That's a long time to spend in a cage for a crime that he did not commit.

Here is what our attorney Robert Boyle wrote to me yesterday:

Since (Shane) already has been to federal court he needs the permission of the US Court of Appeals to file a second habeas corpus petition.  That would have to go to the federal Court of Appeals.  If they then give permission, he can file a second habeas petition.  The application to the Court of Appeals must convince them that the case has merit.  It is an extremely difficult standard to meet.

We are planning to go forward with this course of action.
Thank you for your interest in Shane's case.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Grandpa Shane

I received a letter from Shane dated March 18, which included this photo of his six grandchildren (left to right) Ledgen, Shania, Julius, Taylor, Shane and Josiah.

In his letter, Shane wrote "please add (this photo) to the site. As they feel left out I always try to reassure them of my love for them."

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Now What?

Since the recent denial of our motion to the Appellate Court, the question has been raised as to what is next for Shane's case.

At this writing, here is what is happening:
  • we are preparing to go to Federal Court to seek a new trial. Also, according to a recent ruling, it may be possible to appeal once again to the State court.
  • we have been in contact with Tanzina Vega, a NY Times reporter who specializes in the Bronx court system. Ms. Vega has spoken with Doug Walters, our investigator.
  • Cameron Fegers, a student at Columbia University in NYC has taken a strong interest in the case. Cameron is organizing a demonstration at Columbia on Shane's behalf.

What Can I Do?
  • contact the journalism department of a college or university to see if students might take interest in reporting on Shane's case: the case represents an individual injustice as well as a systemic injustice.
  • share Shane's story and this blog with friends/colleagues
  • write to Shane:
Mr. Shane Watson
Fishkill Correctional Facility
PO Box 1245
Beacon, NY 12508
Thank you,
Will Duchon